International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the Bird Girls Exhibition


Last Saturday, November 25, was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/ ), and various events on the theme “violence against women” are now under way all over the world until December 10. For example, a large gathering of people holding candlesticks was held in Seoul on the evening of November 25, commemorating the Korean victims of Japanese military sex slavery. Concurrently similar events were also conducted in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and many other places in Japan.     

Needless to say, “violence against women” is not just a problem of the past: it is still happening, literally every day, in many places in the world. It is my belief that the recent upsurge of violence against women in our so-called civilized daily life is deeply inter-related to the current ongoing armed conflicts and terrorist attacks happening in many parts of the world.  

Recently in Japan, a horrific crime was revealed: within the short period of three months between August and October this year, a 27 year old man murdered eight young women and a boy, who was believed to be a boyfriend of one of those female victims. He dissected the bodies of all his victims and kept them in coolers in his apartment. This shocking series of events reminds us of one of Grimm’s gruesome Fairy Tales, Bluebeard, originally written by Charles Perrault. In this story a rich man nicknamed “Bluebeard” married many times, killing his wife each time in order to remarry. He kept the dead bodies of those women in a small room in the basement of his mansion. When a newly-wed young woman discovered what he had done he tried to kill her too. She released a homing pigeon with a message, asking her brother for help. Her brother immediately came to rescue her and saved her just as Bluebeard was about to murder her. (There are a few different versions of this story, and in some of the other versions she screamed, instead of using a pigeon, to call for help.)

In Australia, 73 women were officially recorded as the victims killed by violence against women in 2016. In 2015 the number was 86. The actual number of victims might well be far beyond those official statistics. In Australia the Victorian State Government has been vigorously campaigning against violence against women, and it now has a Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. The Victoria State Government is now supporting various events commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On the evening of November 25 “Bird Girls,” an art exhibition that is one of those events, opened in Melbourne. Its theme is taken from the story Bluebeard. It is held in the Foyer of Hamer Hall at the Melbourne Art Centre and will remain open until December 10.

The exhibition consists of 74 drawings of women with birds, representing 73 officially recorded victims of violence and one woman who symbolizes other unofficially recognized victims. Faceless women seem to symbolize the dehumanization of the victims of male violence, many cases of which are sexual violence.   

The artist is Alisa Noe Tanaka-King, who happens to be our younger daughter. (With her middle name, Noe, Alisa is named after Ito Noe, a Japanese anarchist, social critic, author and feminist, who was very active during the so-called Taisho Democracy period between the early 1910s and ’20s.)

Alisa’s Speech at the Opening of the Exhibition
Detailed information on Alisa’s ‘The Bird Girls’ project is available at the following blog.                    






オーストラリアでも、昨年1年間で、公式統計上、73人の女性が男性の暴力の犠牲になって亡くなっています。一昨年は、その数は86名でした。しかし、公式統計に含まれていない犠牲者も多くいますので、実際の犠牲者数はこれよりはるかに多いと思われます。オーストラリアのビクトリア州政府(メルボルンが州都)も、最近は「女性に対する暴力」問題解決のためのキャンペーンにひじょうに力を入れており、州政府には「家庭内暴力担当大臣」もいます。ビクトリア州政府は、「女性に対する暴力撤廃国際デー」のための企画行事の一つとして、一昨夕、The Bird Girls<鳥と女性>展覧会』の開会式を行いました。


この絵の作家の名前は Alisa Tanaka-King (田中キング 愛利然)で(ちなみに彼女のミドル・ネームは「Noe (野枝)」で、彼女の父親が「伊藤野枝」からもらってつけました)で、偶然にもその父親とはこの私です(笑)。メルボルンまでこれらの絵を見に来ていただければ本人にとってはとても光栄なことと思いますが、それは無理ですので、お時間があるときにでも彼女のこのプロジェクトのブログを観ていただければ、決して無関係でない私としても嬉しいです。
The Bird Girls


Publications 出版報告

1)Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II  Second Edition
日本軍が主として南西太平洋各地で犯した戦争犯罪諸例を分析した1996年出版の拙著 Hidden Horrors の改訂増補版。ジョン・ダワーによる「前書き」も一新。 
2)拙訳 ジョン・ダワー著『アメリカ 暴力の世紀:第二次大戦以降の戦争とテロ』(岩波書店) Japanese edition of John Dower’s new book The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II (Dispatch Books)

1) Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II  Second Edition
with Foreword by John Dower.

This landmark book documents little-known wartime Japanese atrocities during World War II. Yuki Tanaka’s case studies, still remarkably original and significant, include cannibalism; the slaughter and starvation of prisoners of war; the rape, enforced prostitution, and murder of noncombatants; and biological warfare experiments. The author describes how desperate Japanese soldiers consumed the flesh of their own comrades killed in fighting as well as that of Australians, Pakistanis, and Indians. He traces the fate of sixty-five shipwrecked Australian nurses and British soldiers who were shot or stabbed to death by their captors. Another thirty-two nurses were captured and sent to Sumatra to become “comfort women”—sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. Tanaka recounts how thousands of Australian and British POWs were massacred in the infamous Sandakan camp in the Borneo jungle in 1945, while those who survived were forced to endure a tortuous 160-mile march on which anyone who dropped out of line was immediately shot. This new edition also includes a powerful chapter on the island of Nauru, where thirty-nine leprosy patients were killed and thousands of Naurans were ill-treated and forced to leave their homes. Without denying individual and national responsibility, the author explores individual atrocities in their broader social, psychological, and institutional milieu and places Japanese behavior during the war in the broader context of the dehumanization of men at war. In his substantially revised conclusion, Tanaka brings in significant new interpretations to explain why Japanese imperial forces were so brutal, tracing the historical processes that created such a unique military structure and ideology. Finally, he investigates why a strong awareness of their collective responsibility for wartime atrocities has been and still is lacking among the Japanese.

2)拙訳 ジョン・ダワー著『アメリカ 暴力の世紀:第二次大戦以降の戦争とテロ』(岩波書店)




日本は、このようなアメリカに自国を軍事的にますます従属させるために、このわずか数年の間に、特定秘密保護法の導入、集団的自衛権行使容認閣議決定、明らかに憲法違反である新安保法制導入、沖縄米軍辺野古新基地の強権的な建設、原子力空母ロナルド・レーガンを中心とする第5空母航空団の岩国への移転、戦前・ 戦中の「治安維持法」なみの悪法である「共謀罪法」の制定などを、次々と推し進めてきた。さらには、北朝鮮攻撃を視野に入れた巡航ミサイル導入の計画や、最終的には憲法九条破棄を目指すスケジュールをも今や具体的に進めつつある。かくして、日本市民は米国の「グローバル・テロ戦争」へとますます深く引きずり込まれつつあり、日本社会もまた「戦争文化国家」への道を急速に進みつつある。このような危機的な時期であるからこそ、ダワーのこの著書『アメリカ 暴力の世紀』を、我々自身を見つめる鏡として熟読すべきであろう。